‘To Kill A Tiger’ Explained: What Happened To Kapil, Langru, And Ishwar?


To Kill a Tiger, directed by Nisha Pahuja, showcases the emotional journey of a father and the determination of a young girl who, even after enduring so much, just refused to surrender to her circumstances. The story is evidence of how deeply rooted misogyny is in our society and how oblivious we are to reality. Hearing the villagers speak in the documentary enraged me because somehow everybody, from the panchayat head to the women, managed to put the blame on the victim. When the girl should have been supported by everybody, she had to literally prove her innocence. Today, we are talking about how society is changing, and maybe it has to some extent, but at the grass-roots level, majoritarian perceptions need to change, and there is a need to educate both women and men about their rights and about what gender discrimination is and how it plagues society. The most important thing that men need to understand is that they cannot trivialize a sexual offense by saying that it was merely a mistake. Secondly, it is criminal to brand a woman as being unchaste if she is subjected to such abuse, something that we see happening all the time in the Indian subcontinent. Also, it was one of those rare times when the victim came out in the open and revealed her identity. She believed that, probably, by doing so, she would spread awareness and, in the future, no girl would feel ashamed of the crimes committed against her and speak up against them. So, let’s find out what happened in the Jharkhand case, what the reactions of the village dwellers were, and if the criminals were put behind bars.

Spoiler Alert

What happened to Kiran? 

In 2017, Kiran was at her relative’s house as her cousin was getting married. That night, around midnight, Kapil, Langru, and Ishwar, three boys who were acquainted with the family, stopped Kiran when she was about to leave. They took her to a secluded spot and then, one by one, sexually abused the poor girl. Kiran mustered all her strength, came back to her house, and told her father everything. Ranjit, Kiran’s father, was distraught, but he knew that he was not going to sit quietly. He went to the “mukhiya” (head of the local panchayat) and informed him about the matter. He was told to make an out-of-court settlement, as that was how conflicts were resolved in the village. Hearing the testimonies of the villagers, it felt like they felt offended when Ranjit decided to lodge a formal complaint against the perpetrators. Ranjit was also in two minds because he knew to what extent these people could go, but that’s when his courageous daughter told him that no matter what happened, she was not ready to take her complaint back. In To Kill a Tiger, Ranjit said that that was when he decided that he would fight till the very end, as that was the least he could have done for her daughter. 

Did Ranjit get any support from the villagers? 

Not even one person came in front and said that they were with Ranjit and that they would provide whatever support they could so that the poor girl could get justice. When a member of the Srijan Foundation, which was actively working on the case, went and asked the women what they thought about the incident, their replies shook her and made us all understand why 90 percent of rape cases in India go unreported. The women first expressed their disappointment and said that they felt that Ranjit had done the wrong thing by approaching the law enforcement authorities. According to those women, it was a local issue, and it should have been amicably solved by both parties. They didn’t like the fact that Ranjit and his daughter were so rigid and adamant about approaching the court of law. The most bizarre advice given by the woman was that instead of creating such a big fuss, the victim should have married one of the three guys who abused her. They talked in a way that trivialized sexual abuse, and according to them, there was no need to create such a fuss over it. The women said that it was because of people such as Ranjit that the reputation of their village was getting spoiled, and ironically, those three boys were not blamed for any such thing.

Muthalik, a ward member who was asked to testify in court, was also against the Srijan foundation, and he believed that they were causing unnecessary conflicts and disturbing public peace. But Muthalik didn’t stop there, and he went on to say that definitely, the victim must have done something to arouse or provoke the boys, as otherwise, no one would have done such a thing. He agreed that the boys had committed a mistake, but according to him, a life sentence was too harsh a punishment as it could ruin the future of the perpetrator. After hearing these people talk, one could understand how a lack of education and awareness could erode society. The women were saying such bizarre stuff because, all their lives, they were taught that. They had been told that it is the duty of a woman to endure pain and to sacrifice her needs and desires. They were told that it is a great virtue to treat one’s partner as a god, but the same wasn’t taught to the men. They could mistreat the women, objectify them, and degrade them, but if a woman raised her voice, then very quickly her character was put into question. At one point in To Kill a Tiger, we saw that the villagers even had problems with the crew of the documentary, as, according to them, they were tarnishing the reputation of their village. One of them even came and justified, with a lot of pride, that it was the first time that such a case had happened in their village. 

What Happens To Kapil, Langru, and Ishwar?

Kiran gave her testimony, and even Ashok Kumar Rai, the public prosecutor, was surprised by how courageously she told each and every minute detail to the judge. The court gave a 25-year sentence to Kapil, Langru, and Ishwar, and Judge Diwakar Pandey commented that in a country where every 20 minutes a rape happens, such precedents needed to be set. Ranjit was told once that a tiger cannot be killed by a single man, and he needed the support of others to achieve that feat. What that man meant was that Ranjit shouldn’t go against the wishes of the villagers because his life would become miserable if he was banished from society. Ranjit, at that moment, decided that he didn’t want to be a part of a society that tried to justify such a crime and made a poor soul suffer. In the end, Ranjit and his daughter proved to the world that even if one had no support, resilience, determination, and courage were all that were needed to kill a tiger.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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